Pam Katch

Piping Plovers Looking for Monitors at Sauble Beach

Cheryl Ferguson Local News, Plover Lovers Committee, Sauble Beach

The Piping Plovers will be arriving at Sauble Beach some time this month. They’re looking for your help, below are the specifics.

Welcome to the Piping Plover Monitor Program!

A volunteer citizen scientist and public outreach project in support of the provinces’ recovery strategy for the endangered Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus).   

What is a Piping Plover

The Piping Plover is a small shorebird that is one of North America’s most endangered birds. Piping Plovers are listed as federally and provincially endangered in Canada and Ontario. Piping Plovers chose wide sandy beaches for breeding. Plovers make their nests on the dry open sand between the high tide line and dune grass. Heavy human recreational use of these same beaches, and increased development have led to the plovers’ severe population decline.

In the spring of 2007, a pair of Piping Plovers established a nest at Sauble Beach, Ontario. This was the first successful breeding record on the Great Lakes in Ontario since 1977. Each year since, plovers have returned to Sauble Beach and established nests. These nests, and the birds foraging habitat are provincially protected under the Species at Risk Act. Volunteer guardians play a large part in assisting with the protection of the birds nests and young throughout their short breeding season on the beach.

Piping Plover Volunteer Opportunity

Are you interested in being a “citizen scientist” and spending some time on the beach talking to beachgoers about the birds? Volunteers are being sought to help monitor the Piping Plovers at Sauble Beach.  For more info check out:

  Face Book:  Plover Lovers

  Twitter: @ploverlovers

  Instagram:  ploverlovers

Role and Responsibilities of the Volunteer

Volunteer monitors usually work in pairs, for shifts of about 3-4 hours. Piping Plovers are monitored every day of the week throughout the breeding season, ideally from dawn to dusk. Your main responsibilities are to:

  • educate beachgoers about the Piping Plover and the recovery project and foster an appreciation of the presence of rare birds as an indicator of the environmental health of the beach.
  • monitor and observe the Piping Plovers’ biology and behaviours
  • watch for predators and other disturbances
  • fill out data sheets during and at the end of each shift.

Training & Orientation

Volunteers should attend one of the two training sessions held at the Sauble Beach Community Centre on:

– Thursday April 28 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

– Tuesday May 31 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

⬩  A follow-up session, the first of a 7-part Beach Talks series will be held on Saturday June 11  from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and will feature Stew Nutt, who coordinated the Volunteer program from 2007 to 2010 and remains engaged with the species’ recovery. We’ll have more news about our program of six additional 2016 Beach Talks in support of lifelong learning in coming weeks.

Volunteer Sign Up 

The public is invited to click on the “About Us” and “Contact” links on this page.

Photo Credit: Pamela Katch